What is Attitude, Really?

Attitude IS Everything!

Why?  Because attitude influences everything we say and do.  Winston Churchill explained it this way…  “Attitude is the little thing that makes a big difference.”  Another wise man, W. Clement Stone, had his own definition.  “There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude and the big difference is whether it is positive or negative.”

Today’s message is dedicated to some game-changing attitudes.

Work Ethic…
“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Forward or Backward…
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are right.”
– Henry Ford

Emotional Response…
“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”
– John C. Maxwell

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”
– Zig Ziglar

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor E. Frankl

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”
– Colin Powell

“Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us.”
– Earl Nightingale

You can learn a lot about your own attitudes by looking back at certain actions you took and the ones you neglected.  You can also predict which actions you will take and its probable outcomes by recognizing and understanding your attitudes.  For example, what is your attitude about personal and professional development?  How will this attitude impact your life?  Zig Ziglar would have responded this way…

“You were born to win. But to be the winner you were born to be, you gotta plan to win and prepare to win. Then and only then can you legitimately expect to win.”
– Zig Ziglar

Quotes Plus 3/1/2012

“Suspicion often creates what it suspects.”
The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, p. 164.

The longer and harder I imagine a negative thought, the more
real it becomes and the more I fret over something that has
not and may not ever happen. This, I believe, is the essence of pessimism. Optimism is the opposite—a preference for creating
positive realities. To get from pessimism to optimism, I’ve
learned to change the tone of my “self-talk” to suspect a more
pleasant reality. By the words I say to myself, Dreary Lane
becomes a momentary detour, not my permanent residence.

“For myself I am an optimist—
it does not seem to be much use being anything else.”
– Sir Winston Churchill

How Am I Sabotaging My Future? (Part 9)

We all know someone who is annoying because their opinions reflect a pessimistic perspective.  They claim to “know” 43 reasons something will not work and posture themselves as the lone voice of reason as they grimace and pound their fists.  Even if people like this are right often enough to have credibility, it is convenient to shove them aside because they aggravate those who want agreement and who follow the boss like the proverbial pack of lemmings.

In situations where important decisions need to be made and problems need to be solved, which type would you rather have on your team?  In terms of your career, which type would you rather be?  Before choosing person #2 as the safer career choice, consider the following opinions:

“If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.”
— Attributed to Winston Churchill

“Too much agreement kills the chat.”
— Eldridge Cleaver

But, being like Person #1 has its risks, too.  Rubbing someone the wrong way too many times could cut you out of the action when you are most needed.

“If two men on the same job agree all the time,
then one is useless.
If they disagree all the time,
then both are useless.”

— Darryl Francis Zanuck

There is a third choice and it’s not a “have it both ways” middle of the road position.  Very simply, it is, “think objectively and think for yourself.”  Before forming an opinion, look at the facts and be open to possibilities.  Consider all options from a risk/reward perspective.    Listen well and ask thoughtful questions every step of the way.  Seek to understand the emotional aspects of the situation and any proposed actions.  Then, form your own opinion and express it in a timely, respectful manner without waiting for the results of a poll.  In other words, becoming a 3 means being a creative, independent thinking, responsible problem solver.

“If two people agree on everything, one of them isn’t thinking.”
— Unknown

Whether a person is one who always sees the gloomy side of the future or one who always finds a comfortable position with the majority, neither is on an upward career path.  Why?  Because a good boss wants and needs to hear a variety of honest viewpoints.  Bad bosses want edification of their ideas.  If you establish your reputation as the “devil’s advocate” (one who argues just for the sake of argument) you’ll start seeing your opinions convicted without a fair trial.  How will you know?  Your first clue: when you notice people rolling their eyes or sighing as soon as you open your mouth.  Your second clue: when you stop getting invited to the meeting.

Is being a 1 or a 2 sabotaging your future?  Could becoming a 3 be a career-advancing strategy for you?  Think and decide for yourself.

— CC

Personal Vs. Private

Myths, Misconceptions, Misnomers and Mistakes

There are people who have mastered the art of using the wrong word. To some, this may be a mute point. (How’s that for an example?) While a wrong word here and there may seem harmless and unimportant, it has consequences. The words “personal” and “private” come to mind.

“I don’t like to share my personal life… it wouldn’t be personal if I shared it.” — George Clooney

Sorry George. One’s thoughts, words, and actions are always personal, whether or not they remain private. The concept of “personal” denotes the characteristic of ownership. People may feel violated when their privacy is breached, but they have not forfeited their lives regardless of whether or not they remain private.

“If there’s anything unsettling to the stomach, it’s watching actors on television talk about their personal lives.” — Marlon Brando

Again, we see confusion. Is Brando implying that everything personal should be private? Certainly not his career, which is personal and necessarily very public.

With this new perspective in mind, read and enjoy the following quotes.  Then reread them replacing the word “personal” with “private” and see if the meaning of the following quotations is changed, masked or distorted.

“A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.” — Winston Churchill

“All personal achievement starts in the mind of the individual. Your personal achievement starts in your mind. The first step is to know exactly what your problem, goal or desire is.” — W. Clement Stone

“Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask why me? Then a voice answers nothing personal, your name just happened to come up.” — Charles M. Schulz

“Success is the progressive realization of predetermined, worthwhile, personal goals.” — Paul J. Meyer

“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals.” — Albert Schweitzer

“I dare not exercise personal liberty if it infringes on the liberty of others.” — Billy Sunday

“And obviously, from our own personal point of view, the principal challenge is a personal challenge.” — Richard Branson

“There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home.” — John Stuart Mill

The following quotation would seem to indicate that the late Jim Morrison recognized the difference between the two words:

“We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict.” — Jim Morrison

“Personal” and “private” have been used interchangeably for so long that we can usually understand the intended meaning from the context. However, the larger point is that “words mean things.” Using the right words is foundational to effective communication. Improving communication skills begins by adopting a belief that this is important. So, let’s explore the consequences of confusing a set of words? In most cases, it might be a minor and forgivable error. In others, it has noteworthy consequences.

Imprecise communication is a distraction. While someone is sorting through sloppy words and phrases, he can miss the important points or important ideas of a conversation.

Imprecise communication projects an image of ignorance. We judge people’s character by their words. Since we can’t get inside their minds to assess their thoughts and intentions, we are left with their words and deeds. When their words are confused and imprecise, we have even less to go on.

Imprecise communication can cause conflict. Using the wrong word can escalate the emotions present during a conversation and cause communication to break down.  Radio talk show personality Rush Limbaugh claims he was misquoted when he said, “I am an expert on my own opinion.” Well, isn’t everyone an expert about their own opinions?  The conflict occurred when the reporter allegedly replaced the word “on” with “in” and changed the entire meaning of the quotation.

Imprecise communication distorts the language. One of the challenges we face is recognizing and applying context. Many, if not most English words have multiple meanings which we interpret from the context of the conversation. This can be challenging enough without unnecessarily adding to the confusion of poor word choices.

Just within my lifetime, I have seen a change in what is private. Consider how the WWI generation talked about pregnancy. “In a family way” and “with child” were common expressions describing pregnancy. Compare that with the language of today’s women, who frequently share in a very graphic way, in mixed company, the intimate details of their labor and delivery. Childbirth is always personal.  But to some, it’s not very private.

Religious beliefs fall into the category of personal. But, are they private? Some would say, “yes” and others “no.” In the case of Christianity, what does the Bible say?

“Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.” — Bible, Psalm 96:2

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” — Bible, Matthew 28:19

“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” — Bible, Mark 8:38

Apparently, Christian beliefs are not intended to remain private.

Some may consider these thoughts about personal and private as a peevish, nit-picking rant and an utter waste of time. I accept and acknowledge that personal opinion, while suggesting that it also remain private.